Red Sox trying for mega-free agent double play: Panda and Hanley

Hanley Ramirez began his career in Boston, and could be headed back there. (USATSI)
Hanley Ramirez began his career in Boston, and could be headed back there. (USATSI)

The Boston Red Sox are trying hard for a huge free agent double play, as they are involved with not only Pablo Sandoval but also Hanley Ramirez, according to sources.

The Red Sox are known to be in the middle of talks for star third baseman Sandoval, and after remaining in contact with Ramirez since as far back as the GM meetings, they are believed to be possibly moving toward an agreement with the star shortstop.

The Red Sox could even make it a triple play if they are able to lure both those positional stars, plus their former ace Jon Lester, who they are also talking to.

While it's unclear what position Ramirez might play if he goes to Boston (or even if the Red Sox can fit both positional stars, though indications suggest they can), there's no doubt the Red Sox are in play for Sandoval and Ramirez at the moment.

Sandoval has offers in hand from the incumbent World Series champion Giants, plus the Red Sox and Padres, and his agent Gustavo Vazquez said Sandoval should have a decision by next week. Vazquez declined comment about who leads, only suggesting that all three offers are in the same range (it's believed the Padres are at about $100 million over five years, the Red Sox $95 million and the Giants $90 million), but one person familiar with Sandoval's talks suggested that at one point over the weekend, at least, Sandoval may be leaning toward Boston.

Ramirez was known to be talking to the Red Sox, which was first reported by CBSSports.com weeks ago, but suggestions are that those talks have grown more serious in recent days.

Ramirez's longtime agent Adam Katz declined comment. Ramirez’s other agent Andy Mota couldn’t be reached for comment and Red Sox GM Ben Cherington didn't return messages. But sources suggest Boston has continued to stay in touch with Ramirez.

The Mariners and Astros have been among the other teams mentioned as Ramirez suitors, but folks around the game see Hanley preferring Boston, where he started and knows Cherington and others, especially good friend and mentor David Ortiz, and where he’d benefit from the Green Monster.

Two young would-be journalists suggested on twitter early Sunday that Ramirez had a deal with the Red Sox, Christopher Meola, who is a self-described Miami marketing guy, and Jake Wesley, who may be a precocious youth.

Ramirez has told all teams he is willing to play any position where there's need, as was reported here first, opening things up for him. With Boston, it's unclear where he'd play, whether it would be left field or DH, or possibly third base (should Sandoval not come).

Lester may not mind going home, either. And word is that while the Red Sox's initial offer is believed to be about $110 million to $120 million for Lester, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported, the Red Sox have a little wiggle room there. Lester is also talking to the Cubs, Braves and at least two other teams, according to reports.

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